IN THE INTEREST OF B.W. and E.W., Minor Children, C.W., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Barbara H.
Liesveld, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
L. Miller, Cedar Rapids, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Gunderson Trachta of Linn County Advocate, Inc., Cedar
Rapids, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Greer, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.
mother appeals the juvenile court's termination of her
parental rights to two children, born in 2006 and 2012. She
contends (1) the State failed to prove the grounds for
termination cited by the juvenile court, (2) termination was
not in the children's best interests, and (3) the
juvenile court should have declined to terminate her parental
rights because the children were placed with a relative.
juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights
pursuant to two statutory provisions. We may affirm if we
find clear and convincing evidence to support either of the
grounds. See In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 707 (Iowa
2010). On our de novo review, we will focus on Iowa Code
section 232.116(1)(f) (2018), which requires proof of several
elements, including proof the children cannot be returned to
the parent's custody.
mother has a long history of substance abuse. The department
of human services first intervened in 2009 and again took
action in 2013, when drug tests were positive for marijuana
and methamphetamine. The department most recently became
involved with the family in early 2017, after it was reported
that the mother's boyfriend might be using and
manufacturing methamphetamine. The department offered the
mother services to address the family's needs. The
services were unsuccessful. The department investigated
several separate incidents and found that the mother abused
or neglected the children. The juvenile court removed the
children from her custody and adjudicated them in need of
mother participated in supervised visits with the children
three times a week. A service provider who supervised later
visits testified an impediment to reunification was the
mother's lack of sobriety and consistent drug testing.
mother's move toward sobriety was indeed checkered. She
tested positive for marijuana on several occasions and
admitted to consuming methamphetamine in July 2018. At least
two drug patches administered after July-one as recently as
January 2019-were positive for methamphetamine
termination hearing, the mother was asked about the most
recent positive test. She stated the result could be traced
to a nap she took in a methamphetamine user's bed. As for
the prior positive result, she stated she was near her father
when he ingested methamphetamine. The juvenile court found
the mother's testimony incredible. We give weight to this
mother's explanations for the positive results are
especially questionable given the number of drug tests she
missed. According to the department case manager, she was
called for eighty tests in ...